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Friday, January 01, 2016

Ind. Courts - Reacting to troubles with e-filing is discussed in end-of-year COA opinion

The 33-page, Dec. 31, 2015 opinion in East Point Business Park, LLC, Fieldview Properties, LLC, and Karen Rusin v. Private Real Estate Holdings, LLC, authored by Judge Mathias, has a discussion, beginning on p. 13 and extending through several pages, of how Trial Rule 86 contemplates and provides for occurrences where counsel may experience technical difficulty with the e-filing system.

Notably, the author of Thursday's opinion, Court of Appeals Judge Paul Mathias, along with Supreme Court Justice Steven David, leads the Indiana Courts e-filing initiative. From the opinion:

[26] At the September 3, 2014, summary judgment hearing, counsel for the Defendants explained the delay by claiming that he had experienced technical difficulties with the Lake County e-filing system that prevented him from filing the designated materials with the court on August 22. PREH responded by informing the court that, if the Defendants’ counsel did have technical difficulty with the e-filing system, then he was required to have filed a notice of manual filing or declaration pursuant to local court rules. * * *

[28] We have no reason to doubt that the Defendants’ counsel experienced technical difficulty with the e-filing system, and we sympathize with counsel in such a situation. Indeed, as e-filing is implemented throughout Indiana, we expect that in some rare instances, technical issues might prevent or delay an electronic filing. Indeed, Trial Rule 86 contemplates and provides for such occurrences, with the expectation that an appropriate and timely record will be made of the difficulties encountered, so that courts can consider and rule on the effect of such difficulties. In similar fashion, we now look to the clear language of the Local Rule 16, which clearly anticipates such situations and sets forth the steps to follow in the case of such technical difficulties.

[29] Pursuant to the applicable rule, counsel was required to file with the trial court as soon as possible a document notifying the court of his inability to electronically file the document. Here, counsel simply informed the trial court of the difficulties at the summary judgment hearing and did not file any such notification with the court until sixty-one days after the date the designated materials were due. We cannot say this constitutes “as soon as possible,” nor did counsel’s notification to the court indicate that he unsuccessfully attempted to file electronically at least two times, separated by at least one hour, after noon on each day of the delay, as required by the rule. In absence of compliance with the provisions of this rule, the trial court was required to reject the delayed filings. See Lake County Rule of Civil Proc. 16(J).

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 1, 2016 01:34 PM
Posted to E-filing | Ind. App.Ct. Decisions | Indiana Courts